TPM News

The Obama Administration delayed and ultimately changed the language in its revision of the military commissions manual because Bush-era language left open the interpretation that CIA drone operators would be considered war criminals, according to the New York Times.

The nugget was buried in a Friday article that hasn't gotten much attention. But it's notable as a sign of how sensitive the administration is about the legality of the CIA drone program in Pakistan.

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Rep. Parker Griffith (R-AL), who was elected as a Democrat in 2008 and switched to the Republicans in December 2009, could be facing a tough challenge in his primary this Tuesday.

Under Alabama law, a candidate must receive over 50% of the vote in the primary, or else he would have to compete in a runoff election in July. A Republican source in Alabama told TPMDC that Griffith's two challengers, Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks and businessman Les Phillip, are competing for the same voters against Griffith. "I'd give him probably a 60% chance of getting to 50 plus one," the source said, explaining that Griffith is favored to win but also that a runoff could be tricker for him.

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Reforms Slow To Arrive At Drilling Agency The New York Times reports on the Obama administration's difficulties reforming the agency that regulates offshore drilling: "Mr. Obama, shortly after taking office, had assigned Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to clean up the agency, the Minerals Management Service. The office's history of corruption and coziness with the industry it was supposed to regulate had been the subject of years of scathing reports by government auditors, lurid headlines and a score of Congressional hearings. But the promised reforms of the agency were slow to arrive, and the subject of the minerals service never came up at the meetings leading to the new drilling policy, according to a senior administration official involved in the discussions."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery at 12 p.m. ET. He will attend the 12:30 p.m. ET 11th Anniversary Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery Dedication, and deliver remarks. The First Family will depart Chicago at 4:40 p.m. ET, arriving at Andrews Air Force Base at 6:15 p.m. ET, and back at the White House at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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House Democrats are home for a long Memorial Day break with a gift-wrapped wedge issue delivered just in time for district campaigning. One of their final actions before adjourning late Friday was passing a measure that would strip tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas by a 215-204 vote.

Sure, wedge issues are usually social in nature, but the Democrats stand ready to divide crucial midterm election voters on economic policy. Democratic campaign types are thrilled with the timing of the vote, saying the outsourcing issue gives candidates the perfect platform to repeat Mark Critz's successful campaign that helped him win the special election in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional district earlier this month. One Democrat said the Republican opposition to addressing outsourcing "will be a clear line in the sand" that members are being asked to highlight back home next week.

"They are voting against jobs," the Democrat said in a preview of television attack ads and pressure campaigns Republicans can expect this week.

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Browner Points Finger At BP Appearing on Face The Nation, White House energy adviser Carol Browner placed the blame on BP for early inaccurate estimates of the size of the Gulf Coast oil spill. "It's important to understand that BP has a financial interest in what those flow rates are. They will ultimately pay a fine based on those rates," said Browner. When asked whether she thought the company lied about initial estimates, Browner replied: "The very, very first estimates came from BP. They had the footage of the plume. The government then did satellite imagery and we realized that those figures were not accurate."

BP's Dudley: Those Weren't Our Estimates Also on Face The Nation, BP Managing Director Bob Dudley defended the company's performance. "The estimates from the well rates have never been BP estimates. They've been through the unified command center. The best way to estimate those early rates were from satellite picture," said Dudley. He later added: "The current estimates by the government are between 12 and 19,000 barrels a day. The precision on these estimates has always been low. We have designed the spill response for much, much higher rates."

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Weekend Address: Obama Honors Memorial Day In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama honored Memorial Day weekend by recognizing the sacrifices of fallen American soldiers.

"That commitment - that willingness to lay down their lives so we might inherit the blessings of this nation - is what we honor today. But on this Memorial Day, as on every day, we are called to honor their ultimate sacrifice with more than words. We are called to honor them with deeds," said Obama. "We are called to honor them by doing our part for the loved ones our fallen heroes have left behind and looking after our military families. By making sure the men and women serving this country around the world have the support they need to achieve their missions and come home safely. By making sure veterans have the care and assistance they need. In short, by serving all those who have ever worn the uniform of this country - and their families - as well as they have served us."

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May 28, 2010: President Obama visits the Gulf Coast to survey the damage done by the oil spill that resulted from the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 22.

In his remarks from Port Fourchon, LA, Obama told the residents of the region: "You're not alone. You will not be abandoned. You will not be left behind."

More pictures of the spill can be found here and here.


The Presidential motorcade drives along the Louisiana coast. Obama also said the spill is his administration's "highest priority."


Obama tours the damage with Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen and Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph.


In his speech, Obama took some responsibility for the spill: "I ultimately take responsibility for solving this crisis. I'm the president and the buck stops with me."


The President meets with local and federal officials at the Coast Guard station.


Local residents gather as the President arrives.